Asma al-Assad’s interpreter seeks shelter in Armenia
YEREVAN - Hürriyet Daily News
An interpreter for the wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Mihran Bertizlian, took shelter in Armenia four months ago. AFP photoAn interpreter for the wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Mihran Bertizlian, took shelter in Armenia four months ago in order to secure his family’s safety.
Asma al-Assad’s interpreter, who is a Syrian citizen of Armenian origin, told the Hürriyet Daily News in Armenia’s capital Yerevan that even though he tried not to flee Syria, he had to take shelter temporarily to guarantee the safety of his family.
“I could not take even the smallest belongings with me when I was leaving my house. I miss my house, Syria’s air and water, and even its beggars on the streets,” Bertizlian said, adding that like most of the Syrian Armenians, they wished that the war would end soon and they could return home. “I am here temporarily. I do not feel that I belong to Armenia.”
Stating that Bashar al-Assad was a well-educated person, he argued that he had been "tricked" and “did not know what games were being played in the lion’s den,” adding that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was also “another piece of the checkers.” Bertizlian said al-Assad had to do more for democracy but in comparison to his father, Hafez al-Assad, he and his wife Asma had portrayed a different profile in public. “I feel deeply sorry for what has been happening,” the interpreter said.
Bertizlian said it was predictable before that relations between Turkey and Syria would “not end positively,” as relations between the countries had only developed in a short span of time before the civil war hit Turkey’s neighbor.
“Relations between Syria and Iraq also developed very fast, but then Syria shut down the border gate with Iraq all of a sudden. An inscription stating that we were allowed to visit the entire Arab world except Iraq was then included in our passports,” Bertizlian said.
Commenting on Erdoğan’s earlier visit to the al-Assads when relations were better, he said the meeting had been very positive and friendly and shared an anecdote with the Daily News.
“There were 12 interpreters doing translations into different languages. Prime Minister Erdoğan was being introduced to the interpreters, and I was forth in the line. He came toward me, I said my name was Mihran, and even before I could say my last name he asked me, ‘Are you Armenian?’ He told me that he was happy to meet me. He was really frank,” said Bertizlian.